East Hawaii News

Charter Schools to Benefit from $1.5M OHA Grant

June 10, 2015, 4:16 PM HST
* Updated June 10, 4:17 PM
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An emergency funding grant of $1.5 million has been given to the Alliance for Native Hawaiian Education from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.The money was needed to address budget shortfalls at Hawaiian-focused public charters schools for the 2014-2015 school year.

Seventeen schools from the Big Island, Kauai, O’ahu, and Moloka’i that educated over 4,200 students and have a 91 percent enrollment of Hawaiian ancestry will benefit from the grant.

“Nā Lei Naʻauao – Alliance for Native Hawaiian Education is truly grateful for OHA’s continued commitment to support these unique values-based models of education that are at once ancient and modern,” said NLN Program Coordinator Kaiʻulani Pahiʻō. “Our schools’ successes validate NLN’s capacity to design and control the process of education dedicated to perpetuating Hawaiʻi’s language, culture and traditions. The process helps the native learning communities honor the past, address the present and serve the future.”

Funding for the charter schools that comes from Hawai’i’s Department of Education are based on a per pupil formula that NLN says falls short of full compensation. In addition, charter schools are not allowed to use the funds that come from the DOE to pay for facility costs or food services, leaving NLN schools dependent on outside sources to close the funding gaps.

“We are grateful and proud to report that OHA funding supports the hiring of certified educators who are fluent in Hawaiian and effective in delivering learning experiences that help realize the school’s vision and mission: No ʻAneʻi Ko Kākou Ola. Mahalo nui,” said Kaleihōkū Kalaʻi-Aguiar of Ke Kula ʻo Nāwahīokalaniopuʻu, located in Kea’au.

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Education with Aloha, simply known as EA, is the innovative, culturally-driven education approach that provides the ability to address the needs of Hawai’i’s largest, most undereducated major ethnic population, according to NLN. The success of EA, NLN coordinators say, provides proof that the design, implementation, and evaluation of quality models of education that are Hawaiian-based are possible, and that public school children should have the option to choose Hawaiian-focused ways of learning.

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With the help of public and private partnerships and through the sharing of resources, NLN is able to continue to provide students with a parallel system of education that is culturally driven, family-oriented, and community-based.

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